Piece by Piece Update

October 2015





Please take note of the following news and calendar updates:


Controversy over the role of private equity in mortgages

(Courtesy of Housing Matters and New York Times): Private equity firms and hedge funds have bought more than 100,000 delinquent mortgages from banks and federal housing agencies, at discounts as steep as 30 percent. These firms were viewed by federal housing officials as more nimble than banks, and more willing to work with homeowners. But, lawmakers now believe these funds may actually be quicker to foreclose than banks. MORE
How the Great Recession Redefined Homeownership & Wealth
(Courtesy of Housing Matters): Owning a home is a common way that American families build household wealth. But what happened to household wealth when home values plummeted during the Great Recession? Recent research reveals that the downturn cost families an average of $30,000 to $40,000 in assets, or approximately 10 percent of their total wealth. These impacts were felt disproportionately by the African American community, a third of which lost half of its household wealth. MORE
Lower Incomes Make it Difficult for Millennials to Find Housing They Can Afford
(Courtesy of NHC) There are currently 53 million millennial workers in the US labor force, and millennials will comprise a growing share of workers in the years to come. While the number of working millennials is growing, the paychecks of many are insufficient to afford housing in their area, resulting in more instances of housing cost burden and challenges to building wealth for the future.  The median income for millennial workers is just $22,000, about half of the median income for all workers. The 2015 installment of Paycheck to Paycheck from NHC explores ways in which millennials are different from common perceptions and looks at workers in five occupations filled by many millennials workers and the housing affordability challenges they face. MORE
Census Data on Poverty Show Slow Recovery
(Courtesy NHC/Brookings Institution): The U.S. Census recently released new poverty data from the 2014 American Community Survey. The data indicates a slow and uneven recovery from the Great Recession. Overall, the data show trends are moving in the right direction, but poverty measures have yet to achieve pre-recession levels. Highlights include:
  • Between 2013 and 2014, major metro area poverty rates fell slightly for the first time since the onset of the Great Recession.
  • Between 2013 and 2014, eight metro areas saw the poverty rate in their core cities fall, while five registered decreases in the suburban poverty rate.
  • Most major metro areas continue to face higher poverty rates than when the recession began.
  • Since 2000, the major metro poor population has grown by 9.7 million, and more than two-thirds of that growth occurred in suburbs.
NeighborWorks America Announces Release of the 11th NFMC Congressional Report
(Courtesy of Kaitlyn Snyder (NHC) and NeighborWorks America):
NeighborWorks� released its 11th annual report to Congress on the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) program. NFMC was created in 2007 and has provided over $813 million in federal funds to prevent foreclosures. Since 2007, over 1,700 counselors around the country have served more than 1.9 million homeowners at risk of foreclosure. On average, homeowners who received counseling and a loan modification were able to reduce their annual payments by $4,980. Counselors report that over time they have become more efficient in preventing foreclosures. MORE

NeighborWorks America Releases 2015 'America At Home' Survey

NeighborWorks America released highlights from its third annual national housing survey.  Aspirations of homeownership remain strong, with 87 percent of adults saying that homeownership is an "important" part of the American Dream, but an increasing percentage of consumers with student loan debt worry about their homeownership future, and a large percentage of consumers say that the mortgage process as complicated.  These factors are just a few of the forces holding back the housing market from a more robust, and broad-based recovery.  MORE

Ranks of Severely Cost-Burned Renters to Grow 

(Courtesy of Enterprise Community Partners): Enterprise Community Partners and the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) just released Projecting Trends in Severely Cost-Burdened Renters: 2015-2025. This analysis finds that the number of households spending 50 percent or more of their income on rent is expected to rise at least 11 percent from 11.8 million to 13.1 million by 2025. At a time when rents are rising, incomes are stagnating and homeownership rates are declining, the number of renters facing affordability challenges has increased significantly.  Severe renter burdens are expected to worsen across all demographic groups, but particularly for older people, non-white households, married couples and single people. MORE
Ron Terwilliger: Housing is a Growing Source of Instability
(Courtesy of Housing Matters): Ron Terwilliger, Chairman Emeritus of Trammel Crow Residential, authored  a recent article for the Bipartisan Policy Center.  Excerpts include. "More than one-third of all U.S. households, almost 40 million in total, spend in excess of 30 percent of their incomes just on housing. For renters, securing affordable housing is particularly challenging-more than 11 million renter households, greater than one-in-four, devote in excess of 50 percent of their incomes to housing. An acute shortage of affordable rental homes is a major factor contributing to these unsustainable housing costs.  With mortgage credit tightening, the national homeownership rate has plummeted to a 48-year low. The homeownership rates for African-American and Hispanic households have fallen dramatically, while fewer first-time homebuyers are entering the market despite historically low interest rates...The deplorable conditions in housing today should concern all of us, regardless of whether we are satisfied with our own personal housing situations." MORE
Housing Recovery Missing in Communities of Color
(Courtesy of Saporta Report): In a recent opinion piece for the Saporta Report, Don Phoenix, Regional Vice President for NeighborWorks America examines current housing market realities.  "This golden age appears to be nothing but a mirage. Many community development professionals involved in homeownership are looking at another set of data that tells a very different story. Homeownership rates have plummeted from 69.1% in 2005, to 63.7 %, with the largest drop among blacks. And, far too many Americans are still living in homes that are underwater. Seven point one million homes or 13.2% of all properties are seriously underwater meaning that loans exceeded property values by at least 25% (RealtyTrac). Underwater homeowners have negative equity and are significantly more likely to default on their mortgages than homeowners with positive equity.Some of the hardest hit metropolitan areas in the U.S. include Atlanta - GA and Miami - FL where 35% and 27% of the home owners respectively are underwater (Hass Report)."  MORE

VA Awards SSVF Grants to Prevent and End Homelessness Among Veterans; 286 Grants Awarded
(Courtesy Veterans Administration): Thousands of very low-income veteran families around the nation, who are permanently housed or transitioning to permanent housing, will continue to have access to crucial services with the renewal of approximately $300 million in grants under the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program.
SSVF renewal funding, which supports outreach, case management and other flexible assistance to prevent veteran homelessness or rapidly re-house veterans who become homeless, went to 286 non-profit organizations and consumer cooperatives in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.  Georgia SSVF grantees include Travelers Aid, United Way of Metro Atlanta, Action Ministries, and Decatur Cooperative Ministry.   A list of grantees is located HERE.

National Exposure for Atlanta Regional Housing Forum
(Courtesy of NHC): Ethan Handelman, Vice President for Policy & Advocacy at NHC,  participated in the September Atlanta Regional Housing Forum.  Upon his return to D.C, he penned a blog post "Why I love the Atlanta Regional Housing Forum. "  Excerpts follow:   "Atlanta is doing exactly what every community should be doing in reaction to the Supreme Court decision on disparate impact and HUD's new fair housing rule . Atlantans are having trust-building, forward-looking conversations about how to change long-standing patterns of segregated housing...If civil rights advocates and community development practitioners and many others come together to advocate for new resources, connect housing to well-planned neighborhood restoration efforts and create more affordable housing opportunities in desirable neighborhoods, real change can happen."  Hear an audio recording of the session and see the slides. MORE


Share your calendar items with us! Please email Susan Adams at [email protected] with news of your upcoming events.
October -November; Free Webinar: Understanding Down Payment Assistance Programs. Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership (ANDP) is offering a free, one-hour webinar to potential homebuyers, real estate professionals and others interested in learning more about available down payment assistance programs. MORE

October 28; Georgia ACT hosts the Annual Fall Affordable Housing Conference.

November 5-6; NHC's Solutions for Restoring Neighborhoods 2015 Conference; New Orleans, LA.  MORE
HomeSafe Georgia representatives will be at the following events to discuss their federally funded mortgage assistance program that helps homeowners avoid foreclosure. 
HomeSafe Georgia is a free, state government program to help homeowners who are unemployed, underemployed or face other types of financial hardships save their homes from foreclosure.  There is no cost to apply and no fee if you are approved.          

A homeowner who has experienced a financial hardship within the last 36 months i.e. hardship associated with loss of job, military service, death of a spouse, or medical hardship may be eligible for HomeSafe Georgia assistance.    We encourage potential eligible homeowners to attend one of the events. 

Churches, clubs and community organizations are encouraged to inform others about the above events and to help those without internet access to apply for these funds. For more information, please visit

October & November 2015 HomeSafe Georgia Events 
Job Fair, October 28, 2015, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.; Goodwill Industries, 1000 N. St. Augustine Road, Valdosta
2015 Northeast Georgia Regional Career Expo, November 5, 2015, 2 - 6 PM; Piedmont College, Student Commons Building, 375 Georgia Street, Demorest;
Military Job Fair, November 5, 2015, 10 AM - 2 PM; Benning Club, Building 128, Morrison Road, Fort Benning;
Project Stand Down, November 14, 2015; 10 AM - 3 PM; Georgia National Guard Armory, 107 GA Hwy 49 W., Milledgeville; 




Susan Adams

Piece by Piece Coordinator